Anyone who has ever crashed a computer without a backup knows the painful and arduous process required to restore the machine to its previous state. As such, many of us keep regular backups of the data on our systems, just in case.
But there's another vast set of data many of us are creating on a daily basis that has little to no backup at all - beyond the services that host that content: our lifestreams. Now, a new service - named appropriately enough, LifestreamBackup - aims to provide the peace of mind that your lifestream data will always be just as accessible as the backup of your machine.
Is losing this data really a problem? If it's not now, it soon will be.
The most obvious example of this loss of access to lifestream data? The inability to access anything beyond beyond page 162 on Twitter. No matter how many times you've posted, you cannot go back any further than 3240 tweets. So, every new public message you send removes one from your history. (To see this in action, simply add "?page=162" to the end of any Twitter user's default URL.) Those who had seen Twitter as a journal of sorts for recording fleeting moments for posterity, suddenly found those moments just as fleeting online.
That's just one example. There are thousands of others: blogs crashing, videos being taken down, companies shutting down services. The list goes on and on.
The point being: saving the content you are producing elsewhere so that you always have access to it is going to become a bigger and bigger problem as time goes on - especially as more and more people move into the social Web. For that reason, LifestreamBackup seems to be ahead of the game with this proposed offering.
While not yet available, LifestreamBackup proposes to launch in the coming weeks. For a small fee, the service will take your various feeds and back them up on Amazon S3 - either your account or theirs. Current pricing is set at $6.95 per month for 10G of data.
"We will launch with the ability to backup Flickr and a blog (via RSS feed). Google Docs, Twitter feeds, Youtube and Facebook backup are all in the works and will come shortly after launch. If it has an API that allows us to pull data, we are happy to back it up for you."The cloud provides a cost-effective resource for storage. Still, one has to wonder, given the concerns with availability, is saving to the cloud the best place to back things up? The cloud for all its benefits is not a perfect place. Apparently, the more cautious among us will still be pulling a backup of that backup - which we'll house offsite somewhere.
Suffice it to say, it's a start. And, a step in the right direction. LifestreamBackup isn't likely to take the market by storm. But it's important to consider it, nonetheless, because it's definitely addressing a growing need.
We're still very early in this version of the Web. There's no doubt that saving the things that are important to us - our social interactions and our historical references - for future reference will become a very important business indeed.
(Image "Lifestream-Seaform" courtesy jemsweb. Used under Creative Commons.)